Posted on October 13, 2021
Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
The same happens with the replenishment of beaches.
Last week, a coalition of activist groups held a press conference on Monmouth County Beach to protest the beach restoration.
But the alternatives are worse.
You wouldn’t have known it from the histrionics at that press conference,
“We have continued to see failed beach replenishment projects that dump millions of dollars of sand on our beaches that just fade with the next storm,” said Taylor McFarland of the New Jersey section of the Sierra Club.
I emailed McFarland to ask where he got that idea from. She did not answer.
A better source is Stewart Farrell. He is the director of the Coastal Research Center at the University of Stockton, which consults on beach replenishment projects.
“Sand doesn’t disappear in a storm,” Farrell said. “The the sand disappears when there is a storm and if it comes back in two weeks, it will be there again. “
That’s the way we should look at alternatives to beach restocking, Farrell said.
“They tried almost everything else years and years ago,” he said.
One option, he said, was “You could shield the entire coastline with rocks.”
But then you wouldn’t have a beach.
“The other alternative is to walk away and let Mother Nature move the beach inland,” Farrell said.
But as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, that causes billions of dollars in damage to the homes of those who live inland.
However, retiring from the beach is what the Sierra Club promotes on its website:
“The chapter believes that dollar beach replenishment projects should be accompanied by the removal of structures from the water’s edge, restoring natural features such as dunes, wetlands, coastal marshes, natural habitats and stream buffer zones, and undertaking other coastal restoration projects ”. the site states.
There are a couple of flaws in that idea, Farrell said. One is that the “living coast” will die if there is not much sand to keep the ocean away from vegetation.
That is a valid point, but aside. Public access was worse in the days leading up to the sand replenishment. Now the new arena comes with an access requirement.
The state should do a better job of enforcing access requirements, a person present at the press conference said. That’s my old surf buddy Bill Rosenblatt, who is a life member of the Surfrider Foundation. The city of Deal is particularly bad.
“Every year Deal has tried some kind of exclusionary measures,” Rosenblatt said. “They even tried to sell the ends of the streets. They have done everything possible to limit public access. There are no public restrooms, garbage cans are limited and they really discourage people who pay to protect their homes from using the beach. “
Those are all good points. But before you can argue about beach access, you need a beach to access. If we let nature take its course, a part of northern Monmouth County would have no beaches at all, Farrell said.
For decades there was little to no beach on the ocean side of the boardwalk that runs from Sea Bright to Monmouth Beach, said Farrell, who grew up in Ocean Township, not far from Deal.
“I was there once with my mother’s car and the water was coming in through the wall into the street,” he said. “There was a wooden pile.”
A beach was created there in the mid-1990s. These days, you can drive down that road without having to dodge the waves that cross the wall.
For those of us who live at The Shore, that’s progress.
The Sierra Club may not agree.
But the last time I looked, the Sierras were 3,000 miles away.
ADD – SEE IF YOU CAN DISCOVER WHAT THIS GROUP IS SAYING:
Can not. Last time I checked, young people love going to the beach:
“Prioritizing restocking beaches perpetuates income inequality for New Jersey youth, soon to be voters. New Jersey would benefit most from investing in a local, community-prepared response to scientific projections of climate change, such as sea level rise, exacerbated by storms, floods and tornadoes, ”said Rachel Dawn Davis of Waterspirit, a ministry of environmental justice of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in Englewood Cliffs, it said in a statement.
And when it comes to preventing public access to beaches, there is always Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop: